I ran back to my desk. Several people stopped me on the way to tell me that the menu system didn't work. At my desk I discovered that large portions of the various network drives had been deleted. Using some network utilities I discovered that the files appeared to have been deleted by our general manager, "Ed."
I went to Ed's office, where he was hard at work on his new laptop. Just a week before, he had been given this top-of-the-line unit along with some basic Windows training (how to use the mouse, what the icons meant, and so on).
I found that on the advice of his teenage son, he was deleting any extra files to make his laptop run faster and give him more storage space. After deleting anything he didn't recognize on the C: drive, he had moved on to the P: drive (his personal network storage location), the G: drive (general public storage of shared documents), and the F: drive (the accounting system, the label system, the menu system). Overall, he had deleted almost 300MB off of his 20MB hard drive.
I gave him a 5-minute training session on the difference between local and network drive letters and went back to my desk to undo the mess. Between the network's unerase ability and backups from the night before, I was able to recover most of the files.
Needless to say, we had upper management's backing when we started offering computer training classes not long after.
This story, "User ignorance wreaks havoc on company's computer files," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com.